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I spent the weekend catching up on my reading and was quite taken aback by the amount of information out there on the cost of bad hires. “How to avoid bad hires”, “What bad hires look like”, “The consequences of a bad hire”, “When hiring goes wrong.” It’s not surprising that bad hires happen, and happen frequently, at that. Without really knowing what your ideal employee looks like, making a bad hire is easier than you think. But it got me thinking - what determines a good hire and how can we do more of this?
A good hire is a result of good leadership
One of the main reasons bad hires occur is because of the lack of participation of leadership throughout the hiring and selection process. Now more than ever, companies need to have a robust talent plan to ensure the candidate experience is supported - not only by hiring managers but by the leadership team too. With the movement toward a more people-focused business climate, leadership should be owning the movement to a more candidate-friendly experience. Here are a number of solutions for top management to consider:
Link your company strategy from its purpose to its impact. Leaders should be asking candidates what impact they want to make by taking the job. There is a need for this type of thinking to be carried out throughout the entire hiring process. If the candidates can connect to a higher purpose and understand the meaning they are making beyond the bottom line, as opposed to a typical “9 to 5” - then you’ve got yourself a good hire.
Use conventional as well as non - conventional hiring methods. Making a good hire means recognizing that business isn't necessarily done in the boardroom. Your ability to explore opportunities in unconventional places is what sets your organization - and your talent - apart from the rest. The creativity from which you source your talent helps determine the quality of your hire. From job boards to networking events - your talent pool should know no boundaries.
Invest in personal impact training and facilitation programs. Strong people skills are essential for business leaders in engaging their teams. Training programs are specifically designed to support leaders in understanding how their own behaviour style impacts their team and how to adapt it when dealing with people different from them. In order to create a synergy between recruitment and leadership, leaders need to step up and participate in how the selection process will be run so that all stakeholders are on the same page.
So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good employees - from better pay to greater perks - when at the end, all one has to do is look at the quality and involvement of leadership from the start. Beyond a point, an employee's primary need has to do less with money and more with how they feel within the organisation, what they believe their purpose is and how this can be supported from the selection process through to retention. By accepting that it's impossible to mold all individuals into a particular box, the focus becomes about what drives the candidate experience. If leadership can achieve this, making good hires will become the norm.
How are you developing your leadership teams to maximize a good hire?
In many ways, a bad hire's effect on company culture echoes beyond the employee's tenure. Poor performers lower the bar for other employees, and bad habits spread like a virus. I once hired a manager who built a chaotic, everything's-a-fire-drill environment. Even after removing the employee from the equation, we still had to invest time and resources to reset the behaviors of team members who emulated the manager's approach. Unfortunately, bad hires aren't always easy to spot. At startups I advise, I've seen leaders misdiagnose people issues as process or product issues. Until we spotted the poor performers, they wasted precious time and money tackling the wrong problem.